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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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that flourished in the capital.    Being specially interested in  the science of astronomy,  the student placed himself under   the   instruction   of   Theodore,   then   the   greatest authority on the subject, and won  the esteem and confidence of his master to a degree that ripened into   the warmest friendship and the most  unreserved   intellectual intercourse.    In his turn, Nicephorus Gregoras became the instructor of the children of the grand logothetes, and was treated as a member of the family.    He was also associated with the restoration of the Chora, attending particularly to the collection of the costly materials required for the embellishment of the church.    Thus the monastery became his home from youth to old age, and after Theodore's death was entrusted to his care.1    During the fierce controversy which raged around the question whether the light beheld at the Transfiguration formed part of the divine essence, and could be seen again after prolonged fasting and gazing upon one's navel, as the monks of Mount Athos and* their supporters maintained, Nicephorus Gregoras, who rejected that idea, retired from public life to defend what he deemed the cause of truth more effectively.    But to contend with a master of legions is ever  an   unequal struggle.     The Emperor John Cantacuzene, taking the side of the monks, condemned  their opponent to silence in the Chora, and there for some three years Nicephorus Gregoras discovered how scenes of happiness can be turned into a veritable hell by imperial disfavour and theological odium.     Notwithstanding his age, his physical infirmities, his services to the monastery, his intellectual eminence, he was treated by the fraternity In a manner so inhuman  that he would  have preferred to be exposed on the mountains to wild beasts. He  was   obliged   to   fetch  water  for   himself from   the monastery well, and when, on one occasion, he was laid up for several days by an injury to his foot, none of the brothers    ever   thought   of   bringing   him   water.       In winter he was allowed no fire, and he had often to wait till the frozen water in his cell was melted by the sun before he could wash or drink.    The vision of the light
1 Niceph. Greg. ii. pp. 1045-6.